Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Polikushka

Поликушка. RU or SU, year of production 1919, year of release 1922. PC: T/D ”Rus”. D: Aleksandr Sanin. SC: Fjodor Otsep, Nikolai Efros – based on the tale by Leo Tolstoi (1863). DP: Juri Zheljabuzhski. AD: Sergei Kozlovski, S. Petrov. Cast: Ivan Moskvin (Polikei), Vera Pashennaja (Akulina), Jevgenija Rajevskaja (mistress of the house), Varvara Bulgakova (foster daughter), Sergei Aidarov (farm superintendent), Dmitri Gundurov (gardener), Sergei Golovin (Dutlov), A. Istomin (Iljuha). 1366 m / 77 min. An Österreichisches Filmmuseum print with electronic subtitles in Finnish by Pirjo Kinnunen. Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Leo Tolstoy), 30 March 2010.

The print is as good as it gets: from less than perfect source materials with a duped look, picture instability, superfluous framelines, and jump cuts, yet it is pretty complete, and it is still possible to imagine the original pictorial quality. The speed should be 16 fps, we screened this slightly too fast.

I had seen this film before, but now, thanks to the loving care of the translation by Pirjo Kinnunen, it was possible to make much more sense of the film the intertitles of which are largely directly from Tolstoy. According to her, there is a lot of old-fashioned language in the text.

A lot of talent involved in this prestige production (Sanin, Ozep, Efros, Zheljabuzhski, Kozlovski, Moskvin, Pashennaja... ) - a prestige production which is heart-breakingly naturalistic, giving us a vivid portrait of the poverty in the countryside just after the abolition of serfdom.

This is the story of the attempt to break free from the vicious circle of poverty and alcoholism. This is a story of an attempt at redemption. This is also the story of the curse of money and the military system.

Ivan Moskvin (1874-1946) is astonishing as Polikei. It is impossible to tell that he was a leading Russian man of the theatre who had famously portrayed kings and czars and would become the director of the Moscow Art Theatre. The acting styles are overall quite natural, and the outbursts of violence and alcoholism seem true to life.

An example of realism between the anti-realistic styles of Yevgeni Bauer in Imperial Russia and the montage / eccentric / futuristic currents of Revolutionary Russia. Lauri Piispa in his programme note reports that the realistic style was much more widespread and highly appreciated at the time than the anti-realistic styles that now get the attention in the history books.

Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy

Лев Николаевич Толстой / Lev Nikolajevitsh Tolstoi. RU 1908. PC: Atelje A. Drankova. P: Aleksandr Drankov. /18 fps/ 12 min. Print: NFM, with English titles only. Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Leo Tolstoy), 30 March 2010.

Ok quality of image, 18 fps too fast.

Leo Tolstoy hated the idea to be filmed, but the indefatigable Aleksandr Drankov persuaded him, and he was happy with the result. - Jasnaya Polyana. - The Kursk station. - The orator Maklanov. - The Tolstoy family. - The daughter Tatyana. - The grandchildren. - The morning walk at 5 o'clock with a special walking stick (the handle of which can also serve as a seat for sitting). - Winter scenes, children playing with the snow, attempting to ski, horses. - Every morning the beggars are expecting him to appear. - The ride with doctor Makovetsky. - Tolstoy embarks on a journey to Moscow. Three carriages. The wife Sofia Andreyevna. At the station of Koslova Zazieska. The children play. Embarking on the train. The Briansk station. - The Kanovniki house in Moscow, today the Tolstoy museum. - The return to Jasnaya Polyana.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hopscotch
















Ruutuhypyt / Ruutuhyppelyä / Vakoilijan jäljillä / Agenten som pratade för mycket. US (c) 1980 Edie & Ely Landau, Inc. EX: Otto Plasches. P: Edie Landau, Ely Landau. D: Ronald Neame. SC: Brian Garfield, Bryan Forbes - based on the novel by Garfield (1975), Finnish translation Ihmismetsästys (1976) by Kaarina Jaatinen / Karisto. DP: Arthur Ibbetson - colour - Panavision 2,35:1. PD: William Creber. M: Ian Fraser. M selections: The andante movement from Eine kleine Nachtmusik by W.A. Mozart; the first movement of Mozart's Piano Sonata No. 11, K331 (best known for the third movement, the Rondo alla turca); and Mozart's Rondo in D, K382. "Il barbiere di Siviglia" by Gioacchino Rossini. "Non pui andrai" from Le nozze di Figaro by Mozart sung by Hermann Prey. "Un bel di vedremo" from Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini. "Largo al factotum" sung by Tito Gobbi from Il barbiere di Siviglia by Rossini. S: Larry Carow, Jerry Stanford. Cast: Walter Matthau (Kendig), Glenda Jackson (Isobel), Sam Waterston (Cutler), Ned Beatty (Myerson), Herbert Lom (Yaskov). 106 min. The Criterion Collection dvd release (2002) - with English subtitles - with a 22 min video introduction by Ronald Neame and Brian Garfield - viewed at home, Helsinki, 27 March 2010.

Ilona Anhava's personal favourite film I had never seen before. A special film in the 1970s conspiracy cycle, it belongs together with The Conversation, The Parallax View, and All the President's Men. It has been compared with the Three Days of the Condor, but in contrast to those dark conspiracy thrillers, this a comic conspiracy thriller. Yet beneath its humoristic tone it's deadly earnest. Brian Garfield wrote his novel at the time of the Church Committee revelations on the CIA and the FBI. Between the publication of Garfield's book and the production of the film ex-spies actually published their memoirs. The fiction of the book had become reality. - The blend of suspense and humour is unique and original. Walter Matthau is great in the leading role as Kendig, and the whole film is well cast. This is a spy film where nobody dies. Kendig is proud of not carrying a gun. - Hopscotch was not well received by critics, but it is an outstanding and original satire.

Kohtaamisia

Hjärtlinje / Heartbeats. FI (c) 2010 Pystymetsä. P: Outi Rousu. D+SC: Saara Cantell. DP: Marita Hällfors - shot with a digital RED camera - processed on 35 mm negative - colour definition by Timo Luomanen. AD: Pirjo Rossi. Cost: Sanja Kangas. Make-up: Kati Koskela. M: Sid Hille. "Liian vähän aikaa" (Erik Lindström 1959) sung for this film by Marjo Leinonen. S: Pietari Koskinen. ED: Pauliina Punkki. Cast: Anneli Sauli (Martta 78), Meri Nenonen (Meri 35), Jenni Banerjee (Emmi 26), Rosa Salomaa (Noora 14), Johanna af Schultén (Anu 39), Maryan Guuled (Fardusa 24), Leena Uotila (Leila 52), Elena Spirina (Olga 33), Tiitus Rantala (Elias 9), Sampo Sarkola (Make 30), Tommi Raitolehto (Petri 40), Yrjö Parjanne (Erkki 82). 76 min. A Nordisk release with Swedish subtitles. Viewed at Kinopalatsi 8, Helsinki, 27 March 2010.

Criss-crossing storylines in the Querschnitt tradition. Martta has a secret she'll keep from her relatives. Emmi is addicted to drugs. Anu lost the father of her daughter when he took a ferry to Stockholm. Noora will become a ballet dancer. Meri has a relationship with a married man. The Russian Olga carries her responsibility as a nurse despite racism. The Somali Fardusa is beyond being insulted by racism, and she receives Martta's family treasure, a Kalevala brooch.

Kohtaamisia is among the most highly regarded among the latest Finnish films. The visual concept is based on the hand-held camera, long takes, medium shots, a sense of being based on available light. A bit too much in the trend of reality tv, tv series, and dogma influences to my taste. I liked many of the performances. Anneli Sauli who got her film debut in 1953 and has performed the classic and modern drama repertoire in the theatre now receives her career best film role. A source of light is Maryan Guuled as Fardusa. Men are no good.

Leo Tolstoy: The Kreutzer Sonata (povest / a tale)

Крейцерова соната / Kreutzer-sonaatti. RU 1889. Read in a Finnish translation by Valto Kallama. Hämeenlinna: Arvi A. Karisto (Kariston klassillinen kirjasto), 1959.

Re-read in anticipation of getting to see the film adaptation by Gustav Machatý the borderline crazy povest (tale) by Leo Tolstoy. The patriarch of a big family - his wife gave birth to 13 children - preaches abstinence from sex. The tale is an account during a train ride by the nobleman Pozdnyshev who has killed his wife. She, a gifted pianist, had started to practise with the violin virtuoso Trukhachevsky, and the summit of their playing took place during Beethoven's The Kreutzer Sonata.

This is a thesis piece and Tolstoy means literally what he says. Men and women should neither marry nor have sex, even if this means the extinction of mankind. There is an unintentional and irresistibly crazy sense of humour in the piece. When I read the tale for the first time, I happened to travel on a train, and it fitted perfectly to the two-hour duration of the ride from Helsinki to Tampere. I took The Kreutzer Sonata as black humour.

Pozdnyshev's first-person subjective viewpoint to the story is so one-sidedly macho chauvinistic, it borders on parody. Yet Tolstoy the artist manages to let us understand the wife's viewpoint, as well. Although she is artistically talented, she has been bound to the role of a mere housewife in the countryside, and the marriage has stifled her. There is no evidence that she has betrayed her husband, and the whole tragedy may be the result of his mad, jealous imagination.

This tale, like What Is Art? belongs to Tolstoy's studies in excess. A terrible and ridiculous work of a genius.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Martti-Tapio Kuuskoski: Arthouse Cinema and Pornography (a lecture)

A lecture in the Cinema and Sexuality series of The Film Society of The Helsinki University Students' Association at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 26 March 2010.

Martti-Tapio Kuuskoski started by charting the ground of the last 40 years. Pornography has become an accepted part of arthouse cinema in films by artists like Nagisa Oshima, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Stanley Kubrick, Catherine Breillat, Lars von Trier, and Michael Winterbottom.

In modern art "rounded characters" are often contested, as in pornography. Kuuskoski found congenial Susan Sontag's view on pornographic imagination with examples such as Georges Bataille (Histoire de l'œil), Pauline Réage (Histoire d'O), and Jeanne de Berg (L'Image). Common to all is the theme of total sexual submission, torture, and humiliation. Kuuskoski also highlighted Pierre Guyotat's Éden, Éden, Éden, an excerpt of which has just been published in Finnish in the Nuori Voima magazine edited by him.

Kuuskoski discussed Andy Warhol's Blow Job where we only see a close-up of a man's face purportedly during a blow job as an example of anti-pornography: zero visibility, lack of the money shot.

Kuuskoski quoted the film-makers manual to pornography, "can't fail with these advice". Lesbian scenes must always be photographed via the male gaze. The narrative must enable a maximum variety of sexual acts. The shooting schedule must be constructed around the money shots. Without a money shot there is no porn film.

Catherine Breillat's Romance is the story of a self-reflective intellectual woman, a teacher of the French language, who embarks into a metaphysical and absurd odyssey into the pornographic stereotypes of sexuality. She does not love the one she is having sex with. She ventures into bondage, prostitution, being raped, being humiliated. She pursues the status of being just a hole, a void, with nothing around it. She realizes the most extreme, stereotypical pornographic fantasies. She seeks the ugliness of life.

In Lukas Moodysson's A Hole in My Heart the pornographic activity moves in the direction of snuff, of actual murder in front of the camera. Even the camera can become a weapon. The despair in front of meaninglessness.

Pier Paolo Pasolini was interested in what Michel Foucault analyzed as the difference between ars erotica and scientia sexualis. In The Trilogy of Life there was a lot of improvisation and rough edges: the sacred meets the playful. Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma was formally perfect, fully finished, the end result of Western civilization.

Christoph Schlingensief directed Die 120 Tage von Bottrop together with R.W. Fassbinder's surviving actors, creating a satire on the Fassbinder trauma in the German culture, the last movie of the German new wave.

Lars von Trier's Idioterne is an attack against hygienism and artifice. The protagonists perform handicapped people and confront all the prejudices like them. One of their exercises is group sex which Trier presents as a hard core scene. This was the immediate inspiration to the current hard core wave in art-house cinema.

Teuvo Tulio in Sensuela portrayed scenes where it is hard to tell whether they are pornography or instances of social criticism. Tulio was adamant that Sensuela did not belong to a porn cinema.

The film to be presented after the lecture is Alain Robbe-Grillet's Les Glissements progressifs du plaisir. It is a deconstruction of the porn narrative, but it cannot be called pornography. Robbe-Grillet's last novel, however, is hard-core pornography, 300 short passages with topics of sado-masochism, pedophilia, and incest, tenderly presented. What is theory with the Marquis de Sade is literary hard-core with Robbe-Grillet. The main theme is the freedom of thought, the freedom of the imagination. What can be imagined can be prevented in reality.

Films excerpted included: Catherine Breillat: Romance (FR 1999). Lukas Moodysson: Ett hål i mitt hjärta ([A Hole in My Heart], SE 2004). Pier Paolo Pasolini: Il fiore delle mille e una notte (IT 1974). Christoph Schlingensief: Die 120 Tage von Bottrop (DE 1997). Lars von Trier: Idioterne
(DK 1998). Teuvo Tulio: Sensuela (FI 1972 / the outtake first published in 2007).

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Voskreseniye

Воскресение (1-я серия, 2-я серия) / Ylösnousemus / Katjushan tarina / Uppståndelse / Resurrection. SU 1961. PC: Mosfilm. P: A. Ashkinazi (dir. kartiny). D: Mihail Schweitzer. SC: Mihail Schweitzer, Jevgeni Gabrilovitsh – based on the novel by Leo Tolstoy (1899). DP: Era Saveljeva (1.), Sergei Polujanov (2.) – originally b&w and Magicolor. AD: Abram Frejdin, David Vinitski. FX: Grigori Aizenberg, A. Vinokurov. Cost: Ganna Ganevskaja. Make-up: A. Patenovskaja. M: Georgi Sviridov. S: Konstantin Gordon, Valeri Popov. ED: Klavdija Alejeva. CAST: Tamara Sjomina (Katjusha Maslova), Jevgeni Matvejev (prince Nehljudov), Pavel Massalski (chairman of the court), Viktor Kulakov (member of the court), Vasili Bokarev (member of the court), Lev Zolotuhin (assistant prosecutor), Nikolai Sergejev (prison guard), Anastasija Zujeva (Matrjona Harina), Vladimir Gusev (Simonson), Klara Rumjanova (Bogoduhovskaja), V. Lanovaja (Shtshetinina), Vasili Livanov (Kryltsov), Vladimir Belokurov (Maslennikov). Original length 2760 m / 101 min + 2970 m / 108 min = 209 min – US duration 152 min – Finnish classification length 5020 m / 184 min. A vintage print, 177 min, with Finnish / Swedish subtitles, viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Leo Tolstoy), 24 March 2010.

Mikhail Schweitzer (1920-2000) was a talented director in the thaw period, and his Resurrection is the most ambitious adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's final novel which has been filmed many times, D.W. Griffith among the first to do so. Tolstoy's novel is a magnificent account of a corrupt society, viewed through the story of the nobleman Nekhlyudov and the country maid Katyusha, seduced and abandoned by him. When he meets her ten years later in a trial, he a member of the jury, she wrongly accused of murder, his conscience is awakened, and follows a bitter odyssey through the judicial system of imperial Russia. Nekhlyudov even proposes to Katyusha and follows her on her long march to the forced labour camps of Siberia. For the first time Tolstoy deals with the revolutionaries, whom Katyusha joins, rejecting the prince's proposal. "First you used me for pleasure, now you want to use me for your redemption". A magnificent, passionate, and devastating novel. It includes the most biting account of bureaucracy that I know in world literature.

Schweitzer's film is very sober and correct, but it lacks the irresistible passion and drive of Tolstoy's novel. It also lacks the gripping density of Tolstoy's account of the imperial society and its manners and mores. Tatyana Syomina as Katyusha is excellent in all her incarnations: the innocent maid, the prostitute who's seen it all, and the Siberian prisoner who finds her identity in the ranks of the revolutionaries. There's nothing wrong with Yevgeni Matveyev, but he fails to give a shattering portrait of a nobleman who realizes the damage he's inflicted.

In the Soviet Union, films were often Troyan horses. Interestingly, Schweitzer and Gabrilovich's adaptation is less inflammatory an attack on bureaucracy and the prison system than Tolstoy's original novel. The Troyan message here might be that the best people are to be found in the prison camps of Siberia.

The best part of the film is the deeply moving and complex finale with Katyusha and Nekhlyudov. Both actors are at their best in that memorable scene. There is no resolution, only a realization that the journey of self-discovery is endless.

Leo Tolstoy: Polikushka (povest / a tale)

Поликушка. RU 1863. Translated into Finnish by Juhani Konkka. Hämeenlinna: Karisto 1957.

Leo Tolstoy is my favourite writer, and I read Polikushka for the first time because we'll screen a film based on it next week. Polikushka was one of the few fiction works Tolstoy wrote in the years immediately preceding War and Peace. Serfdom had been abolished in Russia in 1861, and Tolstoy was passionately involved in organizing a new life in the countryside. He had been devoted to organizing village school education in the spirit of Rousseau, and he had just gotten married. He published the magisterial The Cossacks to cover a gambling debt, but in the process his appetite for writing returned, and he finished Polikushka from a draft started during his visit in Brussels in 1861. It is based on a true story he heard there from his Russian friends.

It is a gripping povest (tale) of the farmhand Polikei and his battle against the bottle. It is about the vicious circle of poverty: the fact that Polikei's cap is very worn plays a part in the tragedy. It is about the power of money, its demonic force. In this, Polikushka is a companion piece to The False Note, which can be seen as developing the theme further. It is also a story about corruption and the trickery and injustice in the connection of military draft. A short tale with wide implications about society. Most of all, it is about the struggle for redemption. Vigorously told, with satire, humour, compassion, bitterness and indignation.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

In the Core of the Documentary Film 50: Destination Future - 1944-1947

Dokumentin ytimessä 50: Päämääränä tulevaisuus - dokumenttielokuva 1944-1947 / I dokumentärens kärna 50: Destination framtiden - dokumentärfilm 1944-1947. Curated by Ilkka Kippola and Jari Sedergren. Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 24 March 2010.

An excellent and deeply moving programme, one of the best of the fifty in Ilkka Kippola and Jari Sedergren's magnificent project. Introduced by Jari Sedergren.

Digibeta compilation:
Kansa siirtyy rauhan töihin / [The People Moves On to Peacetime Reconstruction]. FI 1946. D: Holger Harrivirta.
J. K. Paasikivi. FI 1945. D: Holger Harrivirta.
Neuvostoliiton vientituotteiden näyttelyn avajaiset Helsingissä 24.8.1946 / [Opening of the Soviet Export Fair in Helsinki, 24 August 1946]. FI/SU 1946. PC: Continental. P: Veli J. Paasikivi.
Välirauhasta rauhaan 1947 [From Truce to Peace 1947]. FI 1947. D: Veli Tamminen.
Suomi kunnioittaa Leninin muistoa [Finland Honours the Memory of Lenin]. FI 1946. P: Continental. EX: Veli J. Paasikivi.- With footage of Matti Wuolukka who met Lenin in the 1905 party congress in Tampere where Lenin met Stalin.
Yleisradion päivä [A Day at the Finnish Broadcasting Company]. FI 1947. D: Holger Harrivirta.- A gem, also valuable as technical documentation.

On 35 mm:
Asuntopula [Housing Shortage]. FI 1947. For: SKDL. D: Holger Harrivirta. SC: Matti Kurjensaari. Commentary reader: Carl-Erik Creutz.- Propaganda for the left-wing party, yet with strong documentation on the poor conditions of living.
Suomen ja Neuvostoliiton kulttuurisuhteet alkavat [The Opening of the Cultural Relations between Finland and the Soviet Union]. FI 1945. PC: Continental. P: Veli J. Paasikivi. D+commentary read by: Roland af Hällström. - With footage of Vsevolod Pudovkin's visit to Helsinki.
Vägarna kring Rovaniemi / Lapin tuho [The Roads Around Rovaniemi / The Destruction of Lapland]. SE 1945. PC: Svensk Filmindustri. D: Brita Wrede. DP: Felix Forsman, Brita Wrede, Björn Soldan ja Hilding Flood). Commentary reader: Carl- Erik Creutz. In Swedish. - Finland fought three wars in 1939-1945. This is a stark documentary of the devastation of the last war, The Lapland War. With a deeply moving commentary. The final image: a Laplander family heads towards the barren mire, full of hope for the future.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Targets

Targets [title on Finnish tv] / Skott på levande mål / Levande mål [title on print]. US © 1967 Saticoy Productions [30 Dec 1967], released 1968. [EX: Roger Corman, n.c.]. P+D+ED: Peter Bogdanovich. Ass. P: Daniel Selznick. SC: Peter Bogdanovich - from a story by Polly Platt, Peter Bogdanovich. DP: Laszlo Kovacs - color by Pathé. PD: Polly Platt. S: Sam Kopetzky. S ED: Verna Fields. Cast: Boris Karloff (Byron Orlok), Tim O'Kelly (Bobby Thompson), Nancy Hsueh (Jenny), James Brown (Robert Thompson, Sr.), Sandy Baron (Kip Larkin), Arthur Peterson (Ed Loughlin), Mary Jackson (Charlotte Thompson), Tanya Morgan (Ilene Thompson), Monty Landis (Marshall Smith), Peter Bogdanovich (Sammy Michaels), Paul Condylis (Drive-in manager). - Footage from The Terror (Roger Corman, 1963) with Boris Karloff, Jack Nicholson, Sandra Knight, and Dick Miller. Footage from The Criminal Code (Howard Hawks, 1931) with Boris Karloff. 91 min. A SFI print [ok, opening The Terror footage faded red, the rest a bit faded without colour distortion, towards the end there was a reflection from the projection booth visible on the screen in the night scenes] with Swedish subtitles by Torsten Manns viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Horror Star Parade), 23 March 2010.

This film was never released in Finland, but I believe I saw it in 1970 during an American film week, or maybe there were impressive clips of it on Finnish tv at the time in a programme discussing the film week and the New Hollywood. Anyway, I haven't seen the film since, and it was much better than I expected.

The film is topical also in Finland since the Jokela and Kauhajoki school killings. In Targets, a normal white young man, happily married, with a loving father and mother, first kills everybody at home (the father happens not to be present at the moment) and then starts to kill random victims on a freeway and in a drive-in cinema. He has an impressive collection of firearms, and he has been avidly doing target practice together with his father.

There is a foreword in the film that there is no effective gun control law in the United States.

There is another story in the film, that of Boris Karloff, here called Byron Orlok, a horror film star who has decided to retire. The scenes at the preview, at Karloff's hotel room, and at the drive-in-cinema are full of affectionate and satirical observations. The storylines merge at the end as Karloff stops the killer who has been shooting at the audience through a hole in the screen.

One of the ideas of the film is that violent urges are real and it can be healthy to process them through the medium of the cinema. As everyone familiar with the horror film scene knows, artists working in that field tend to be gentle and tender personalities, such as Boris Karloff (1887-1969) reportedly was, and as he is portrayed here. The performance is one his career best.

An assured and thoughtful debut film from Peter Bogdanovich.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Uuden aallon jäljillä eli missä on Antoine Doinel?

[On the Trail of the New Wave, or, Where Is Antoine Doinel?] FI 2009. PC: YLE Kulttuuri. P: Jaana Semeri. D+SC: Kati Sinisalo. 52 min, with Finnish subtitles. First transmitted at the YLE Teema channel on 14 March 2009. Watched on dvd at home, 20 March 2010.

The award-winning cultural television documentary produced to inaugurate the tribute to the Nouvelle Vague by the Finnish Broadcasting Corporation (YLE) last year. A labour of love with great film clips from Truffaut, Godard, Resnais, Demy, and Rohmer, and precious news footage of the 14-year-old Jean-Pierre Léaud in Cannes in 1959, François Truffaut interviewed by Hannu Karpo in Finland in 1964, the Cannes festival in 1968, and Jean-Pierre Léaud in Sodankylä in 1990. The Aki Kaurismäki / Jean-Pierre Léaud connection is followed from Valehtelija till I Hired a Contract Killer. Monte Rosso (FI 2008) is included as an example of the presence of la Nouvelle Vague today.

The documentary is constructed as a mosaic of interviews shot at two festivals: Cannes and Sodankylä in 2008, with witnesses well-known and unknown. They include Stig Björkman, Aldo Tassone, A.J. Annila, Michel Martin, Peter von Bagh, Andrei Konchalovsky, Suzanne Liandrat-Gubignes, Jean-Louis Leutrat, V.P. Makkonen, Dome Karukoski, and Sakari Toiviainen. Some of the funniest remarks are by Milos Forman, himself influenced by la Nouvelle Vague, but engaged in Cannes in 1968 to participate in the boycott complete with red flags.

La Nouvelle Vague is now receding to the mid-point of film history. Yet the term La Nouvelle Vague still seems valid as there has not been an epochal rejuvenation of the world cinema since. This great attempt to challenge tradition lasted from 1959 until 1968. An interesting remark in the documentary is that "in painting you cannot go back to a past style, but in the cinema you can".

Uden en traevl

Ilman rihmankiertämää / Utan en tråd / Without a Stitch. DK 1968. PC: Palladium Film. P: John Hilbard. D: Annelise Meineche. SC: John Hilbard, Annelise Meineche - based on the novel by Jens Bjørneboe. DP: Aage Wilturp. AD: Otto Lund, Herbi Gärtner, Willy Berg Hansen. Make-up: Aase Tarp. Cost: Berit Nykjaer. M: Ole Høyer. S: John Bury. ED: Edith Schlüssel. Cast: Anne Grete Nissen (Lillian), Ib Mossen (Dr. Petersen), Niels Borksand (Henry), Ki-Jo Feza (Britta), Niels Dybeck (Göran, film-maker), Åke Engfeldt (Bengt), Leif Barney Fick (Heini), John Martinus (Jon), Søren Carlsbaek (Åke), Joan Gamst (Lise, student of architecture), Søren Strømberg (count Jan), Dieter Eppler (Kurt von Aschbach), Dale Robinson (Freddy, the British art historian), Preben Ottesen (Antonio, the Italian), Jean Kress (Pierre). 98 min. A Jack Stevenson print of the U.S. Jack Harris release version with English subtitles viewed at Cinema Orion (Cinema and Sexuality), Helsinki, 20 March 2010.

A vintage print of the complete version (very slight cuts due to wear and tear) with colour faded to red.

The diary of a female patient: the 18-year-old graduate girl Lillian suffers from modesty and frigidity (she is incapable of receiving an orgasm). The doctor-gynecologist-researcher Petersen helps her overcome her inhibitions. He warns her of false modesty. She has had a willing date with Henry, a boy schoolmate, but refused intercourse (she wanted it but could not do it). During a field trip Lillian has been denounced as frigid by her schoolmates. So she embarks on an odyssey of sexual self-discovery with Lesbianism with a schoolmate, the doctor caressing her to a climax, and, hitch-hiking in Europe after the graduation, an affair with a Swedish "gladporr" porn film director, a threesome with a Lesbian architecture student and count Jan, witnessing female mud wrestling and shop-window whores at the Reeperbahn, a night with a rich sado-masochistic German gentleman, a threesome with a British homo-bisexual art historian and the Italian Antonio, sex in a Citroën van at the Champs-Elysées. On the flight back home, elegantly dressed, a more grown-up young woman now, she sees Henry again.

The story of a young woman's self-discovery was simplified to a sex film to the dismay of the author of the book. Certainly in every city we see Lillian buy copies of classic books and read them, and she is fluent in every language, including German, Italian, and French.

As it is, the film has memorable sequences: for instance, the porn film sequence, the subsequent café sequence with a lively ambience, and the dance sequence with the architecture studying woman and Søren Strømberg.

There is a fairytale atmosphere in the film which had a big success in the mainstream cinemas of the U.S.A. Nothing can hurt Lillian, not even the whipping of the sadist, and the final image is of a huge drawn friendly heart.

Jack Stevenson: Totally Uncensored 2 (a lecture)

At Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Cinema and Sexuality), 20 March 2010.

Denmark was the first country in the world to abolish the censorship of the written word. The theory went that people would lose interest if pornography would be made free, and it worked. Denmark was also the first country in the world to abolish film censorship, setting the model for the rest of the world. In this case, the theory did not work, and pornography grew into a huge global industry.

Uden en trævl / Without a Stitch was a Norwegian novel by Jens Bjørneboe about a woman's equal right to experience life, including sexual life. It belonged to the Norwegian current of anti-authoritarianism, and the film based on it seemed to be like the prophecy presented in the film Gift fulfilled. Modesty is presented as something that people suffer from, something to be cured of, even with the help of the doctor. Critics and Bjørneboe hated the film, but it was a major discovery in the U.S.

In the 1960s, Hollywood was in a crisis, and Nordic sex films were screened in respectable mainstream cinemas with a huge success. Even Jack Valenti was distressed because he felt this would lower the value of the most respectable cinema circuits.

Without a Stitch was a soft core film which was sunny, cheerful, and upbeat, but its morality was perceived as perverse.

Mondo films picked Nordic countries as their subject, and displayed a veritable catalogue of stereotypes, with Nordic people seen as liberated but unhappy. The basic cause: "it' about the weather". "All Danish women are Lesbians". "Danish women have a high testosterone level". They were perceived as ice cold, with a high suicide rate. The welfare state was killing the joy of life. "They don't know how to live". Yet Denmark was presented as a cosy country, where the policeman protects the geese crossing the street. And people have casual sex in a telephone booth with everybody just passing by without noticing. Life in Denmark was seen as shockingly unshocking. The main mondo area had been Africa, now it was the Nordic countries. Also two Hongkong films showed a "parallel universe" of fictive Denmark.

In June 1969 censorship was abolished in Denmark, and there was a huge sex convention which drew a lot of international attention. Films were produced for export only. 3 slags kærlighed (DK 1970) was producer Peer Guldbranden's last film. Stille dage i Clichy (Jens Jørgen Thorsen, DK 1970) was a flop in the U.S., because audiences were no longer accepting Nordic experimental sex movies.

The artist Jens Jørgen Thorsen's most famous project was "The Sex Life of Jesus Christ", which caused international controversy for ten years. The Queen of England, the Pope, and Billy Graham reacted, and the Danish trade balance suffered. The film itself beside the point, the project was a happening. It was the biggest such thing in Denmark before the Mohammed cartoon.

Denmark's annual film production was some 27 films a year. Of the sex-related film there were different types. There were films based on books. There were the "white coaters" (educational films). There were soft porn comedies: the Sengekantsfilm / Bedside series, eight films starting with Mazurka på sengekanten / Bedside Manner (John Hilbard, DK 1970) [but two of the films had hard core action]. There were the hard core comedies: the Stjernetegnsfilm / Zodiac series, six films starting with I Jomfruens tegn / Danish Pastries (Finn Karlsson, DK 1973).

Abroad, Denmark was known as the land with no limits. The American couple Phyllis and Eberhard Kronhausen made in Denmark the film Hvorfor gør de det? / Why Do They Do It? (DK 1970), the most radical documentary film on Danish liberation. They took us to the live sex clubs. They even incorporated Bodil Joensen, the boar girl. In Denmark, it became impossible to create a scandal. In sex documentaries the current live sex club scene was documented with scenes of 69, lesbian sex, and customers getting Swedish massages. In 1972-1973 the clubs went out of business. In 1975 Catholic countries such as France started their own production lines of hard core films. The focus of liberation switched to Amsterdam.

Clips included: 3 slags kærlighed / The Daughter: I a Woman Part III (Mac Ahlberg, DK 1970), the opening dream sequence of  I Jomfruens tegn / Danish Pastries (Finn Karlsson, DK 1973), Animal Lover (the introduction with Bodil Joensen and a clumsy interviewer, DK 1970), Sådan är Porno / Facts: Copenhagen Sex-Report (Werner M. Lenz, DK 1971)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Gift

Myrkkyä / Venom. DK 1966. PC: Nordisk Film Kompagni. EX: Morten Schyberg, Bo Christensen. P: Henning Karmak, Knud Leif Thomsen. D+SC: Knud Leif Thomsen. DP: Claus Loof, Arne Abrahamsen. M: Niels Viggo Bentzon, ”My Situation” by Tommy Petersen, perf. The Matadors. S: Hans W. Sørensen. ED: Birger Lind. CAST: Sisse Reingaard (Susanne, daugher), Søren Strømberg (Per), Poul Reichhardt (Henrik Steen, father), Astrid Villaume (Hjørdis Steen, mother), Judy Gringer (Sonja, maid). 99 min. A Jack Stevenson print, a Peppercorn-Wormser American release version (Venom) with English subtitles. Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Cinema and Sexuality), 19 March 2010.

Presented by Jack Stevenson. In the beginning we saw Hit House (Henning Kristiansen, DK 1965) with Danish, English-singing pop bands playing at Hit House, including "My Situtation", with Søren Strømberg as the lead singer. Jack showed also two samples of X-rated footage of the film from the dvd without the large white crosses (1: the montage starting with the stallion mounting the mare, 2: the female orgasm in an explicit intercourse scene).

An ok complete used vintage print but with large white crosses over the X-rated footage (nothing X-rated visible).

The story of the young intruder, Per, a film-maker, an advocate of the sexual revolution. He comes to the wealthy bourgeois seaside home where the daughter Susanne is about to graduate. His graduation gift: Fanny Hill, which the father throws into the fireplace. Per promulgates the "revolution of the flesh" and throws the family Bible into the fireplace. "I represent the future". The father deduces that "the only way to beat him is to agree with him" and invites Per to stay at their home. After Per has shown Susanne hard-core footage she asks "is it permissible to show that". His prophecy: "it will be". After Per has shown his wife his footage of him and Susanne having sex, the father throws Per bodily out of the house and in an anti-Buñuelian moment throws his film-making equipment out of the window.

An intriguing and significant film still relevant today. The actors are convincing. There are also interesting subplots: the frustration in the relationship of the parents who still love each other; the story of the clumsy maid Sonja whom they try to help.

Jack Stevenson: Totally Uncensored: The Evolution of Danish Erotic Cinema 1 (a lecture)

The Cinema and Sexuality lecture series of the Film Society of the Student Association of Helsinki University, Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 19 March 2010.

Jack Stevenson is an American film historian, writer, collector, distributor, exhibitor, and organizer of film tours who lives in Denmark. He has just published Scandinavian Blue: The Erotic Cinema of Sweden and Denmark in the 1960s and 1970 (Jefferson, North Carolina and London: McFarland & Company, 2010), a witty, excellent and unique survey into an important turning-point in cinema, culture and society.

Jack emphasized the amazing difference of Nordic and American cinema. The Language of Love: in Denmark, school classes visited it. In the USA, it was distributed in porn cinemas. In London, there were anti-Swedish demonstrations on Trafalgar Square. Sweden became a hate object for the conservatives.

After WWII the Production Code was still strong, and besides, during the war time the War Office of Information suppressed "decadent" subject matter.

There is a long tradition of anti-Swedish attitudes among American conservatives. Time magazine equated Sweden and sin. Sweden was portrayed as a land where unmarried mothers were heroines. Hon dansade en sommar and Sommaren med Monika had dual distribution in both arthouses and grindhouses.

The tradition of Nordic open-mindedness was made famous by Swedes. Denmark caught up in 1962 with books like I a Woman and The ABC of Love (later filmed as The Language of Love). The film that started this was Weekend (Palle Kjærulff-Schmidt, DK 1962). Export versions of Danish films were sometimes harder, and films were later made in Denmark for export. These films were ignored by reviewers and they have been ignored in film histories.

I a Woman (Mac Ahlberg, DK 1965) was the first Danish erotic blockbuster, a mixture of art and exploitation. In the USA it was released by Radley Metzger, and there were 12 sequels.

The answer to the impending porn wave was Gift / Venom (Knud Leif Thomsen, DK 1966), a conservative and intelligent warning about the pornification of culture.

Jeg - en marki / I a Nobleman (Mac Ahlberg and Peer Guldbrandsen, DK 1967) was based on a true story of an impostor "Marcel de Sade" who hosted fashionable orgies in a large mansion.

A remarkable feature in Danish culture was that actors, directors and other talent that appeared in erotic films, including hard core films, had no problem in appearing in all other kinds of films and tv programmes.

Jag är nyfiken gul / I am curious Yellow (Vilgot Sjöman, SE 1966) was seized by the customs, went through the courts, and got immense press for five years. This kind of publicity was so attractive that certain American producers sent their films abroad in order to have them seized by the customs. A few theaters were packed for a year or two. It was a movie everybody knew, few saw, and most hated. It had an immense impact on American culture.

Foreign film directors started to come to Nordic countries to make films, for instance Joe Sarno. In his film Inga Sweden is depicted as a country where virginity is shameful.

Clips included: Amour (Gabriel Axel, DK 1970). - An American trailer show with Desiderio / Woman (IT 1946), Preludio d'amore / Shamed (IT 1946), Pigalle-Saint-Germain-des-Prés / No Morals (with Jeanne Moreau, FR 1950), Demain nous divorçons / Sexpot (with Magali Noël, FR 1951), Wanda la peccatrice / The Shameless Sex (IT 1952), Ogift fader sökes / Unmarried Mothers (SE 1953), and Hästhandlares flickor / The Time of Desire (SE 1954), presenting mainstream films as sexploitation. - Weekend (DK 1962). - Jeg - en marki / I a Nobleman (DK 1967). - Trailer: Jeg - en kvinde / I a Woman (1965) with Essy Persson. - Jeg - en oskuld / Inga (SE 1968) with Marie Liljedahl.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Tampere Film Festival Awards 2010

The official press release:

Miia Tervo’s Lumikko (2009) won the Grand Prix of Tampere Film Festival’s International Competition. It is a document based on a phone conversation with a young girl and Pekka Sauri in the radio program Yölinja. Lumikko is only the third Finnish film that has ever received the Grand Prix. Earlier the reward was won by Hannu Peltomaa's Rantojen miehet (1971) and PV Lehtinen’s Hyppääjä (2000). The Jury characterizes Lumikko as follows: ”This hybrid of imagery, voices and music is brilliantly brought together to form a visionary depiction of a human mind and soul.” Furthermore, Lumikko received the EFA Tampere Nomination. Therefore film will be competing for the title of the best European short film.

The Best Animation award was given to Gudrun Krebitz’s I Know You (2009, Germany, Austria). The Best Fiction award went to a Thai film Tiang naa noi koi rak (2009), directed by Wichanon Somumjarn. In the Best Documentary category the award was divided ex aequo between Philip Widman’s Destination Finale (2008, Germany) and Jay Rosenblatt’s The Darkness of Day (2009, USA).

The International Jury awarded two Diplomas of Merit. They were given to Rita (2009) by Antonio Piazza and Fabio Grassadonia from Italy and to a French animation Je criais contre la vie. Ou pour elle (2009), directed by Vergine Keaton. The Jury members were Philip Cheah (Singapore), Pablo Lamar (Paraguay), Karen Rais-Nordentoft (Denmark), Selma Vilhunen (Finland) and Wu Wenguang (China). The Audience Award went to Wagah (2009, India) directed by Supriyo Sen.

Miia Tervo’s Lumikko (2009) also took the main prize of the National Competition under 30 minutes' category. The Jury comments on the filmmaker: ”She skilfully uses the material and stays always in control – and at the same time she gives the viewer plenty to think about”. Arthur Franck’s and Oskar Forstén’s document Ruuhka (2009) won the Special Prize.

The main prize in the over 30 minutes' category was awarded to Pia Andell’s document Göringin sauva (2010). The Special Prize went to a documentary Freetime Machos (2010), directed by Mika Ronkainen. The Diploma of Merit was given to a document Mies ja videokamera (2009), directed by Petri Hagner. The Jury members were Kaarina Hazard and Heikki Jokinen from Finland, and Sirkka Möller from Germany.

The Risto Jarva Prize was awarded to Miesten vuoro (2010), a document directed by Joonas Berghäll and Mika Hotakainen. The Jury states: “The filmmakers have an exceptional ability to bring forward the male’s most personal feelings and a sensibility to treat tough life stories in a purifying way." The Jury members were Kati Nuora, Raija Nurmio, Hannes Vartiainen and Pekka Veikkolainen. The Audience Award went to Miesten vuoro, too.

Teemu Nikki’s fiction Äiti ei enää keilaa (2009) won the Prize of the Youth Jury, and the Diploma of Merit went to animation Benigni (2009), directed by Elli Vuorinen, Pinja Partanen and Jasmiini Ottelin. The Student Award was snatched by A Kosovo Fairytale (2009), directed by Mark Middlewick, Samantha Nell and Anna-Sofia Nylund.

The 40th Jubilee Year of Tampere Film Festival was a box-office success. Before Sunday morning, there were 12 sold-out screenings, among them Reindeerspotting – pako joulumaasta (2010) and Miesten vuoro (2010). The ¡Viva el corto! series was a success as well, four of the screenings were sold out: Terror, Mexodus, Gustavo Taretto and Ibero-America 2. There were 850 accredited guests and members of the press at the festival, of which 120 were international guests.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

FILM IST. a girl & a gun

AT (c) 2009 Media Loop. D+SC+ED: Gustav Deutsch. 103 min. A sixpackfilm print of an English version viewed at Plevna 6, Tampere (Tampere Film Festival). In the presence of Gustav Deutsch.

A compilation film in five acts: Genesis, Paradeisos, Eros, Thanatos, and Symposium.

Press copy: "FILM IST. a girl & a gun is a film drama in five acts about one of the oldest topics in cinematography and in the history of mankind: the confrontation of the sexes. From the Genesis of the universe and the world by collaboration and confrontation of the gods of creation, to the innocent cohabitation of men and women in the state of Paradise; to desire, temptation, love, jealousy, and hate between the sexes under the sign of Eros; to the escalation and violent repression and exploitation of the sexes in war and pornography reflected in Thanatos' mirror; over to the solution and enlightenment offered by religion and politics in the dialog of Symposium. Film fragments from the first century of cinematography were researched and reassembled into a sequence of pictures and stories and thereby given new meaning as to their original content".

Another compilation masterpiece from Gustav Deutsch. Visionary inspiration in a story of life, desire, passion, with volcanic and oceanic eruptions and time-lapse footage of the growth of life forms.

In the discussion after the film Gustav Deutsch told us that he has been the first film-maker to gain access to the Kinsey Institute's archive of movies on sex. Even hard core imagery has an aspect of dignity in his film.

FILM IST. a girl & a gun (archival credits)

Produktionspartner / production partners:
NEDERLANDS FILMMUSEUM
IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM
FILMARCHIV AUSTRIA
ÖSTERREICHISCHES FILMMUSEUM

in Zusammenarbeit mit / in cooperation with:

BUNDESARCHIV FILMARCHIV
Wolfgang Schmidt

CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA CINEMATOGRAPHIE
Béatrice de Pastre
Daniel Fromont
Jean-Baptiste Garnero
Nikola Klein
Eric Le Roy
Pierrette Lemoigne
Annie Marciniak
Caroline Patte
Nicolas Ricordel

CINEMATHEQUE TOULOUSE
Christophe Gauthier
Natacha Laurent

CINETECA DI BOLOGNA
Gianluca Farinelli
Anna Fiaccarini
Andrea Meneghelli
Davide Pozzi

FILMARCHIV AUSTRIA
Thomas Ballhausen
Dietmar Clees
Christian Dewald
Anna Dobringer
Stefanie Gratzer
Ernst Kieninger
Nikolaus Wostry

FRIEDRICH WILHELM MURNAU STIFTUNG
Carmen Prokopiak
Patricia Heckert

IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM
Lynn Chapman
Stephen Lovesay
Corinna Reicher
Paul Sargent

MUSEO NAZIONALE DEL CINEMA DI TURINO
Claudia Gianetto
Luca Giuliani

NARODNI FILMOVI ARCHIV
Vanda Jarošová
Vladimir Opela

NEDERLANDS FILMMUSEUM
Sandra Den Hamer
Nico de Klerk
Mark-Paul Meyer
Frank Roumen
Ronny Temme

ÖSTERREICHISCHES FILMMUSEUM
Alexander Horwath
Michael Loebenstein
Regina Schlagnitweit
Edith Schlemmer
Raoul Schmidt
Markus Wessolowski

THE KINSEY INSTITUTE
FOR RESEARCH IN SEX, GENDER AND REPRODUCTION
Julia R. Heiman
Shawn Wilson
Liana Zhou

mit Ausschnitten aus folgenden Filmen / with sequences from the following films:

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A MUNITION WORKER, 1917
ACTUALITEITEN REVUE JAARGANG 1 NR 33, Filmfabriek Holland, 1935
ALDER HAY HOSPITAL SPORTS, 1918
ANDERS ALS DIE ANDEREN, Richard Oswald, 1919
ANNIE OAKLEY, William Dickson, 1894
ARMY SERVICE CORPS, 1917
BEHIND THE LINES WITH OUR FRENCH ALLIES, 1917
BITS & PIECES Nr 3 / 11 / 40 / 87 / 89 / 358
BLOEIENDE BLOEMEN EN PLANTENBEWEGINGEN, J.C. Mol, 1932
BOMBING SCHOOL AND SPORT, Harold Jeapes, 1918
BRITISH SOLDIERS INTERNED IN HOLLAND, 1918
CAFE ELEKTRIC, Gustav Ucicky, 1927
CARNEVALESCA, Palermi Amleto, 1917
CHAMPAGNER, Geza von Bolváry, 1929
CURIOSITÉS MONDIALES, Eclair, 1920
DANZE SERPENTINE, 1900
DANZES
DAS ERSTE RECHT DES KINDES, Fritz Wendhausen, 1932
DAS KIND DES TEUFELS, Erich Kober, 1919
DAS SINNESLEBEN DER PFLANZEN, Wolfram Junghans, 1937
DAS SPIELZEUG VON PARIS, Michael Curtiz, 1925
DE AARDE BARST OPEN, 1935
DE GEYSERS, Prizma, 1922
DE MENSCH VÓÓR ZIJN GEBOORTE, Joseph Coböken, 1925
DE TIJD EN DE FILM I, J.C. Mol, 1927
DER NEUE BEHANDLUNGSSTUHL, 1915
DIE FREUDLOSE GASSE, Georg Wilhelm Pabst, 1925
DIE GRÜNE MANUELA, E.A. Dupont, 1923
DIE SEELE DER PFLANZEN
DIE URKRAFT DES WELTALLS, 1940
DUEL TO THE DEATH, British Mutoscope and Biograph Syndicate, 1898
ECLIPSE DE SOLEIL EN PLEIN LUNE, Georges Méliès, 1907
EINE DIRNE IST ERMORDET WORDEN, Conrad Wiene, 1930
ENGLISCHE KRANKHEIT, Kurt Stefan, 1941
ENGLISH TRAGEDY, 1936
EROS IN KETTEN, Conrad Wiene, 1929
EROTIKON, Gustav Machatý, 1929
EUGEN SANDOW, William Dickson, 1894
EWIGER WALD, Rolf von Sonjevski-Jamrowski, 1936
EXCURSIE NAAR INDIË´S MACHTIGE ELEMENTEN, Willy Mullens, 1929
EXTASE, Gustav Machatý, 1932
FANTASIA MUSICA, Johan Gildemeijer, 1937
FLAME THROWER, 1916
FLASH BOMBS FOR NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY 3-6 DEC 1928
FLASHES OF ACTION, 1919
FUN ON A SANDHILL, Deutsche Mutoskop und Biograph, 1899
GAS SHELLS, 1917
GASMASKS OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR, 1917
GAUMONT GRAPHIC 436, 1915
GAY COUNT, 1925
GEFAHREN DER BRAUTZEIT, Fred Sauer, 1929
GEHEIMNIS UM SCHÖNHEIT UND JUGEND, Clarissa Patrix, 1940 - wonderful scenes of women taking a Finnish sauna bath and Freikörpergymnastik in Berlin after office hours
GERMAN OFFENSIVE, F.A. Bassill, 1918
GESUNDE FRAU – GESUNDES VOLK, Gösta Nordhaus, 1937
GESUNDE JUGEND, STARKES VOLK, 1937
HET ABC DER LIEFDE, Leonce Perret Productions, 1919
HUTES DE LA MER MEDITERANEE
ICH KLAGE AN, Wolfgang Liebeneiner, 1941
JACK JOHNSON DER MEISTER BOXER DER WELT, Kineto, 1912
JAZZ MANIA, 1936/38
KNOW YOUR ENEMY – SECOND SERIES, 1916
KRAKATAU, R.W. van Bemmelen, 1929
KREUZERSONATE, Gustav Machatý, 1926
KRUPP ARMOUR AND ARMAMENTS TESTING, 1915
L’ECLISSE PARZIALE DI SOLE DEL 17 APRILE 1912, 1912
L’ILE DES NUDISTES, 1936
L’ENFANT D’UN AUTRE, Yakov Protazanov, 1919
L’INNAMORATA, Gennaro Righelli, 1920
LA BATTAGLIA TRA BRENTA E ADIGE, 1916
LA CONTESSA SARA, Roberto Roberti, 1919
LA HABANERA, Detlef Sierck, 1937
LA LEGGENDA DI SANTA BARBARA, Giulio Rufino, 1918
LA NAVE, Gabriellino D`Annunzio e Mario Roncoroni, 1921
LA NEUROPATOLOGIA, Camillo Negro, 1908
LA STORIA DI UNA DONNA, Eugenio Perego, 1920
LACHEN DES LEBENS – MARCHE AU SOLEIL, 1932
LE BULGARE
LE PARC NATIONAL DE YELLOWSTONE, Pathé, 1917
LI HANG LE CRUEL, Édouard-Émile Violet, 1920
MACISTE ALL´ INFERNO, Guido Brignone, 1926
MAMAN POUPEE, Carmine Gallone, 1919
MARCHAND D´AMOUR, Edmond T. Gréville, 1935
MATINEE IDOL, 1937
MAUDITE SOIT LA GUERRE, Alfred Machin, 1914
MODELLO PARA LA PINTURA, 1939
NARKOTIKA, Leopold Niernberger, 1924
NEWS REEL, 1925
NIEUW ZEELAND, C.W.A. van Bergen, 1932
NOCTURNO, Gustav Machatý, 1934
ONE SUNDAY MORNING, 1930/32
ÖSTERREICH IN BILD UND TON, 14A/16A, 1936
PASE DE MODELOS
PICTORIAL HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR NR 12, 1919
PORNO, 1920
PRICKING CHERRIES, 1937
QUO VADIS, Arturo Ambrosio, Georg Jacoby, Gabriele d’Annunzio, 1924
RAF CADET BRIGADE SPORTS AT SAINT LEONARDS, 1918
READY FOR THE ENEMY, Ariel Varges, 1916
RECONTRE, 1920
RECORDING MODERN SCIENCE, 1930
SCAMPOLO, Augusto Genina, 1928
SCOTTISH TROOPS FOR THE FRONT, 1914
SEINE HOHEIT DER EINTÄNZER, Karl Leiter, 1927
SEXY SEXTEEN, 1938
SONS OF THE EMPIRE, J.B. McDowell, H.C. Raymond, 1917
STRANDGUT, Hans Karl Breslauer, 1924
TAILS UP FRANCE 1/ 2, 1918
THE BATTLE OF THE ANCRE, Geoffrey H. Malins, J. B. McDowell, 1917
THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME, Geoffrey H. Malins, J. B. McDowell, 1916
THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY, Edwin S.Porter, 1903
THE MODERN MAGICIAN, 1933
THE OLYMPIC GAMES: AS THEY WERE…, 1919
THE WORLDS GREATEST STORY, 1919
THE YORK AND LANCASTER REGIMENT, 1917
THREE GRACES, 1930
TOPICAL BUDGET 248-2, 1916
TOPICAL BUDGET 278-2, 1916
VERS LA LUMIERE, Aleksandr Uralsky, 1921
VOYAGE AU PLANETE JUPITER, Segundo de Chomón, 1909
VULKANEN, J.C. Lamster, 1912
WAS IST DIE WELT?, Svend Noldan, 1936
WHAT THE ARTIST MISSED, 1932
WHEN DAD IS AWAY, MUM WILL PLAY, 1934/37

mit Bewilligung von / by license from:

BETAFILM / KINEOS GMBH
BUNDESARCHIV / TRANSIT FILM GMBH
CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA CINEMATOGRAPHIE
CINEMATHEQUE TOULOUSE
CINETECA DI BOLOGNA
FILMARCHIV AUSTRIA
FRIEDRICH WILHELM MURNAU STIFTUNG / TRANSIT FILM GMBH
GAUMONT PATHÈ ARCHIVES
IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM
LES DOCUMENTS CINEMATOGRAPHIQUE
MUSEO NAZIONALE DEL CINEMA DI TURINO
NARODNI FILMOVI ARCHIV
NEDERLANDS FILMMUSEUM
ÖSTERREICHISCHES FILMMUSEUM
SASCHA FILM
THE KINSEY INSTITUTE FOR RESEARCH IN SEX, GENDER AND REPRODUCTION

Beratung / advice:
Wilbirg Brainin-Donnenberg
Nico de Klerk
Christian Dewald
Anna Fiaccarini
Alexander Horwath
Ernst Kieninger
Martin Koerber
Michael Loebenstein
Andrea Meneghelli
Mark-Paul Meyer
Edith Schlemmer
Linda Williams
Nikolaus Wostry

The Digitalization of Films, Cinemas, and Festivals (discussion)

The Auditorium of The Finnish Labour Museum Werstas, Tampere, Tampere Film Festival, 13 March 2010. Moderator: Jukka-Pekka Laakso.
- Tillman Scheel (Reelport GmbH, Europe's Finest, Germany)
- Per Fikse (Minimalen Short Film Festival, Norway)
- Tero Koistinen (CEO, The Finnish Film Chamber, Finland)
Norway's first-run cinemas will be all digital, no 35 mm, in July 2010.
For short film festivals you need a media scaler to fit all films that are not in the DCP format. You need to get the movie one week ahead to digitize the media.
There will be no need for 3D film festivals soon, as 80% of the new releases will be in 3D.
Digitization excludes small cinemas and small films.
The first Europe's Finest releases in Finland will be Cul-de-sac, Repulsion, Jag är nyfiken gul, and Orphée.
Reelport Film Market service: there were 3555 short films at the database during the Tampere Film Festival, accessible for the media professionals. There will be a pretty complete library of European short films. - I was a client of the Reelport Film Market service for the first time, and I am happy to testify that this is the best film market service I have ever experienced.
...
My remarks: The digital roll-out is at its most hectic right now, but there are great digital issues still to be solved: 1) the visual quality is too often flat and lifeless due to inadequate digital intermediates, 2) there are no digital cinema standards, only compliances, 3) there must be a way to sustain access to our immense photochemical film heritage from 120 years, 4) there is no digital preservation standard for digital movies; film is still the preservation standard also for digitally created movies.

Archive Films and Rights Issues (discussion)

The Auditorium of The Finnish Labour Museum Werstas, Tampere (Tampere Film Festival), 13 March 2010. Moderator: Jukka-Pekka Laakso
- Gustav Deutsch (Austria)
- Mikhail Zheleznikov (Russia)
- Sami van Ingen (Finland)
A discussion about the challenges of making a compilation film and a film based on found footage. There are actually two separate questions here: issues of authors' rights, and issues of rights to use a certain physical copy.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Tampere Film Festival 40th Anniversary Reception

The Old City Hall, Tampere, 12 March 2009.

The Old City Hall, beautifully restored, has also such an art collection, from the 18th century to the present day, including a portrait of the King of Sweden Gustav III who founded the city of Tampere in 1779, and masterworks by Edelfelt, Munsterhjelm, Schjerfbeck, and Kaivanto, that it amounts to an art gallery.

It was great to meet all the four directors of the Festival, Ilkka Kalliomäki, Pertti Paltila, Antti Vuorio, and Jukka-Pekka Laakso, all together. Magnificent programming since 1969 with both new and classic films, still going strong. Myself, I started following the Tampere Film Festival programming in 1971, when there was a remarkable selection also screened at the Dipoli in Otaniemi, Espoo, and I have been an irregular friend of the Festival since.

Miesten vuoro

In the Steam of Life. FI 2010. PC: Oktober Oy. P: Joonas Berghäll. D+SC: Joonas Berghäll, Mika Hotakainen. DP: Heikki Färm, Jani Kumpulainen - shot on S16 mm - 2K digital intermediate DFF - released on 35mm. M: Jonas Bolin. S: Christian Christensen. ED: Timo Peltola. 85 min. English subtitles by Tiina Kinnunen. - The Festival screening was sold out, so I watched the film simultaneously on dvd at the Tampere Film Festival Market.

The screening of the most acclaimed new Finnish film of the recent DocPoint festival was sold out in Tampere.

Also from the dvd one can deduce that the cinematography is brilliant. Great composition, a fine sense of colour, a feeling for the light of the four seasons.

The Finnish sauna as the space for confessions among men.

An amazingly intimate documentary film about men's confessions, a few of them happy (marital bliss, the birth of a baby, finding a new love at old age). Most of the confessions are tragic, but the sauna provides the place of confidence and friendship between men. It is good to talk.

Childhood in an abusive home with a violent stepfather. A daughter lost in divorce. Criminal past in Sweden. Handicapped friends. The career officer whose mother died and girlfriend left him. The death of the wife. The clochards. The miners of Lapland. The loss of a twin child.

Many kinds of saunas, including a mobile home, an automobile, and a telephone booth transformed into saunas. Home saunas, public saunas, a Laplander's teepee sauna.

I am a sauna aficionado, myself, and I recognize something of the confessional sense displayed in this movie, but in my experience the confessional mode of the sauna is a rare special case, even amongst the closest ones. For me the sauna is more an experience of meditation, of liberation from mundane worries, of recharging one's batteries, profound certainly, and about ignoring all the externals.

Tampere Film Festival: Animé français

Cinema Hällä, Tampere, 11, 12, and 13 March, 2010.

Animé français 1
The Evolution of the Film (GB 1924) featuring Will Day
Emile Reynaud (FR/BG 1988), D: Pierre Lévie
Pauvre Pierrot (FR 1892), D: Emile Reynaud
Autour d'une cabine (FR 1894), D: Emile Reynaud
Paris-Cinéma (FR 1929), D: Pierre Chenal
Fantasmagorie(FR 1908), D: Emile Cohl
Sculpteur moderne (FR 1908), D: Segundo de Chomón
Les Locataires d'à côté (FR 1909), D: Emile Cohl
Becassotte à la mer (FR 1920), D: Marius O'Galop
Ballet mécanique (FR 1924), D: Fernand Léger
Gulliver chez les Lilliputiens (FR 1923), D: Albert Mourlan, Raymond Villette

Animé français 2
Histoire sans paroles: à l'est rien de nouveau (FR 1934), D: Bob Zoubowitch
Le Joie de vivre (FR 1934), D: Hector Hoppin, Anthony Gross
Une nuit sur le mont chauve (FR 1933), D: Alexandre Alexeieff, Claire Parker
La Découverte de l'Amérique (FR 1934), D: Mimma Indelli
La Fortune enchantée (FR 1936), D: Pierre Charbonnier
Fétiche en voyage de noces (FR 1936), D: Ladislas Starewitch, Irene Starewitch
L'Idée (FR 1932), D: Berthold Bartosch

Animé français 3
Barbe-bleue (FR 1938), D: Jean Painlevé, René Bertrand
L'Epouvantail (FR 1943), D: Paul Grimault
Cap'taine sabord appareille (FR 1943), D: André Rigal
Callisto, la petite nymphe de Diane (FR 1943), D: André-Edouard Marty
Le Scaphandrier (FR 1944), D: Arcady Brachlianoff
Les Enfants du ciel (FR 1946), D: Wilma de Quiche
Anatole à la Tour de Nesle (FR 1947), D: Albert Dubout
Le petit soldat (FR 1948), D: Paul Grimault

The magnificent history of French animation presented by Jean-Baptiste Garnero (AFF/ CNC). This time I watched his presentation only.

FestArt - Beyond Cinema (exhibition)

TR1, Finlayson, Väinö Linnan aukio 13, Tampere, 12 March 2010.
- Wandering Through the Future. NL 2007. Concept, production: Marjolijn Dijkman. ED+AN: Harmen van Eersel. Music selection: Willem Vanden Eynde. 59 min. Screening format: large digital screen. Fragments of 70 films with apocalyptic landscapes and scenarios. Part of the project Lost in the Future, developed for Sharjah Biennial 8, Still Life, Ecology, and the Politics of Change. - Fascinating collage.
- Immersion. DE 2007. D+SC: Harun Farocki. Video installation based on Farocki's visit to a workshop organized by the Institute for Creative Technologies, a research center for virtual reality and computer simulations. One of the project concerns the development of a therapy for war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Farocki is also interested in the use of virtual reality and gams in the recruiting, training and now also the therapy for soldiers. - A critical view of the most serious applications of virtual reality.
- Film ist. 1-12. AT 1998 and 2002. Concept, script, editing: Gustav Deutsch. 60 min + 90 min. The first six chapters are dedicated to the scientific laboratory as the first birth place of cinematography, the next six chapters to the variety theatre and the studio as the cradle of cinematography. - Revisited Gustav Deutsch's compilation masterpiece, now in the form of an installation of eight huge screens. A new way to approach the great work.
1. Movement and Time
2. Light and Darkness
3. An Instrument
4. Material
5. The Blink of an Eye
6. A Mirror
7. Comic
8. Magic
9. Conquest
10. Writing and Language
11. Emotions and Passions
12. Remembering and Document

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tampere Film Festival: the Finnish Competition

ANIMATION
Benigni (Elli Vuorinen, Jasmiini Ottelin, Pinja Partanen, 2009) DigiBeta, 8' - wax animation - the lonely man finds a companion from under his own armpit
Fengshui (Pauliina Punkki, 2009) DigiBeta, 4' - stark animation a bit in the style of Priit Pärn
Hiiren kalansaalis / The Catch of a Mouse (Heikki Prepula, 2009) dvd, 6' - drawn and painted fairy-tale animation, no dialogue
Hyvä meininki / Good Stuff (Niina Suominen, 2009) DigiBeta, 8' - following Arcimboldo, Shvankmajer - food animation - what a waste - great colour
Isola (Antonia Ringbom, 2009) DigiBeta, 17' - in Swedish - painted animation with fantasy characters, purple hues
Kaupunki / The City (Vappu Tuomisto, 2009) dvd, 6' - fine b&w water colour animation - simple lines, a talent of observation, a talent for the detail - intriguing music
Trolley Boy (Teemu Auersalo, IE 2009) DigiBeta, 4' - stylish animation about the world of the shopping mall
Veriset kädet / Bloody Hands (Malakias, 2009) DigiBeta, 7' - highly stylized

DOCUMENTARY
44500 Max (Jari Kokko, 2009) Beta, 79' - English subtitles - a documentary portrait - an ironical portrait of Max Perttula who creates his own luxury perfumes
A Kosovo Fairytale (Mark Middlewick, Samantha Nell, Anna-Sofia Nylund, 2009) dvd, 15' - documentary animation collage, a very interesting visual approach *
Freetime Machos (Mika Ronkainen, 2010) 35 mm, 87' - English subtitles - documentary - atavistic male force in the North, finding its expression in rugby
Göringin sauva / The Baton of Goering (Pia Andell, 2010) DigiBeta, 38' - a documentary portrait - Felix Forsman (1917-2005) got the mission to film Mannerheim's visit to Hitler in 1942 - good visual quality
Piirrän, siis olen / I Draw, Therefore I Am (Kim Finn, John Hakalax, 2009) Beta, 52' - documentary biopic - in Swedish with Finnish subtitles - the story of the Estonian artist Ilon Wikland - the birth of the visual shapes of the beloved Astrid Lindgren characters - the tragedy of Estonia
Kinbaku / Kinbaku - sielun solmuja (Jouni Hokkanen, 2009) DigiBeta, 29' - in English - an ambitious account of bondage
Kun liikun / When I Move (Ville Salminen, 2009) dvd, 7' - experimental documentary - visually ambitious - the girl whose feet don't touch the ground
Leikkipuisto / Playground (Susanna Helke, 2010) DigiBeta, 30' - multi-cultural life today
Lumikko / The Little Snow Animal (Miia Tervo, 2009) DigiBeta, 19' - animation / fiction / experimental - a collage about the solitude of a girl - talking in the radio programme Yölinja (Night Line) with the psychologist Pekka Sauri
Magneettimies / The Magnetic Man (Arto Halonen, 2009) DigiBeta, 79' - this documentary portrait I had seen before
Mies ja videokamera / Man with the Video Camera (Petri Hagner, 2009) Beta, 49' - an experimental documentary portrait of a personality: Esko Lönnberg - in Pori, creating a film on the band Circle - visions, action painting
Miesten vuoro / In the Steam of Life (Joonas Berghäll, Mika Hotakainen, 2010) 35 mm, 85' - see separate entry above
Reindeerspotting - pako Joulumaasta / Reindeerspotting - Escape from the Land of Santa Claus (Joonas Neuvonen, 2010) DigiBeta, 85' - this I missed
Ruuhka / Traffic Jam (Arthur Franck, Oskar Forstén, 2009) Beta, 12' - a motored deliveryman and deliverywoman
Strawberry Girl / Mansikkatyttö (Arja Pettersson, 2009) dvd, 4' - in English with Finnish subtitles, experimental documentary - a long take of the Polish girl rolling on a strawberry-patterned sheet - reciting her monologue on the slave labour on a Finnish strawberry farm - [my personal observation of a strawberry farm I know is that pickers are treated well, to the benefit of all]
Ukko ja akka / The Old Man and the Old Lady (Markku Heikkinen, 2009) blu-ray, 15' - Seppo, 73 years, and Linda, 102 years, living in Northern Finland not far from the Russian border
Vasen vartaloon / Fight of Fate (Mohamed El Aboudi, 2009) DigiBeta, 56' - English subtitles - a documentary portrait: Umar Kemiläinen, a boxer and a Muslim who loses his health - shot in Finland and Dubai

FICTION
Huomisen muisto / The Memory of Tomorrow (Pekka Saari, 2010) blu-ray, 28' - English subtitles - starring Heikki Nousiainen - digital imagery, visually ambitious - the medical experiment to prolong memory
Pikkuveli / Our Little Brother (Oskari Sipola, 2009) blu-ray, 27' - realistic drama about the relationships between children in a dysfunctional family
Snow Business (Roi Vaara, 2009) DigiBeta 11' - documentary of the performance artist Roi Vaara: snow for sale in Finland in winter
Veeti ja pavunvarsi / Veeti and the Beanstalk (Susanna Kotilainen, 2009) blu-ray, 14' - fantasy fiction - highly stylized, pantomime, farce
Viikko ennen vappua / Over the Fence (Hamy Ramezan, 2009) 35 mm, 30' - with Jesse Martin and Emilia Laine - and Matleena Kuusniemi and Eero Milonoff - a drama on domestic violence, racism
Äiti ei enää keilaa / Mother Doesn't Bowl Anymore (Teemu Nikki, 2009) DigiBeta, 10' - fiction with an element of danger and horror - returning from the prison the neo-Nazi protagonist finds mother missing, home full of fresh meat

EXPERIMENTAL
Kone 2010 (J. Karelius, 2009) dvd, 10' - rough imagery, forceful poem recital
Lopun alkuja / Beginning and Ending (Jani Ruscica, 2010) DigiBeta, 17' - low tech apocalyptica
Sisäinen lähiö / The Suburb Within (Pekka Sassi, 2009) DigiBeta, 12' - English subtitles - abstract visual imagery with red static in a cube - flicker - grid imagery

Tampere Film Festival

Tampere 40th International Short Film Festival, 10-14 March, 2010. Strong programming in the main venues, the Finnkino Plevna multiplex, Hällä, and Tullikamari. Besides short films, there are feature-length documentaries, music films, and special events.

- International Competition
- National Competition
- ¡Viva el corto! (Spain, Ibero-America, Uruguay, Gustavo Taretto, Mexodus, Terror)
- Fortress Europe
- Retrospectives: Laila Pakalnina, Mikhail Zheleznikov, Patrik Edlund, Russian Lessons
- Animation: Animé français (a grand history of the French animation), Autour de Minuit, Segundo de Chomón
- Music: Julien Temple, German Kral, Looking for Lost Tango, They Call It Acid, Finnish Music Video
- Art Faktor: Gustav Deutsch, FestArt, Sami von Ingen
- Anniversary: Opening Screening Jubilee, Rake Special, City Lights, TaFF Party Night
- Treasures from the Archive
- Media Schools: TTVO New Student Films, ELO New Student Films
- Kids: Minikino, Skidisti,
- Canon of the Short Film, Carte blanche, EFA Short Matters!, Dvoted, Trash Film Festival

Monday, March 08, 2010

Nominees & Winners for the 82nd Academy Awards

Actor in a Leading Role

* Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”
* George Clooney in “Up in the Air”
* Colin Firth in “A Single Man”
* Morgan Freeman in “Invictus”
* Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker”

Actor in a Supporting Role

* Matt Damon in “Invictus”
* Woody Harrelson in “The Messenger”
* Christopher Plummer in “The Last Station”
* Stanley Tucci in “The Lovely Bones”
* Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds”

Actress in a Leading Role

* Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side”
* Helen Mirren in “The Last Station”
* Carey Mulligan in “An Education”
* Gabourey Sidibe in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
* Meryl Streep in “Julie & Julia”

Actress in a Supporting Role

* Penélope Cruz in “Nine”
* Vera Farmiga in “Up in the Air”
* Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Crazy Heart”
* Anna Kendrick in “Up in the Air”
* Mo’Nique in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”

Animated Feature Film

* “Coraline” Henry Selick
* “Fantastic Mr. Fox” Wes Anderson
* “The Princess and the Frog” John Musker and Ron Clements
* “The Secret of Kells” Tomm Moore
* “Up” Pete Docter

Art Direction

* “Avatar” Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair
* “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Art Direction: Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro; Set Decoration: Caroline Smith
* “Nine” Art Direction: John Myhre; Set Decoration: Gordon Sim
* “Sherlock Holmes” Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
* “The Young Victoria” Art Direction: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Maggie Gray

Cinematography

* “Avatar” Mauro Fiore
* “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” Bruno Delbonnel
* “The Hurt Locker” Barry Ackroyd
* “Inglourious Basterds” Robert Richardson
* “The White Ribbon” Christian Berger

Costume Design

* “Bright Star” Janet Patterson
* “Coco before Chanel” Catherine Leterrier
* “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Monique Prudhomme
* “Nine” Colleen Atwood
* “The Young Victoria” Sandy Powell

Directing

* “Avatar” James Cameron
* “The Hurt Locker” Kathryn Bigelow
* “Inglourious Basterds” Quentin Tarantino
* “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels
* “Up in the Air” Jason Reitman

Documentary (Feature)

* “Burma VJ” Anders Østergaard and Lise Lense-Møller
* “The Cove” Louie Psihoyos and Fisher Stevens
* “Food, Inc.” Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein
* “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith
* “Which Way Home” Rebecca Cammisa

Documentary (Short Subject)

* “China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province” Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill
* “The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner” Daniel Junge and Henry Ansbacher
* “The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant” Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert
* “Music by Prudence” Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett
* “Rabbit à la Berlin” Bartek Konopka and Anna Wydra

Film Editing

* “Avatar” Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron
* “District 9” Julian Clarke
* “The Hurt Locker” Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
* “Inglourious Basterds” Sally Menke
* “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Joe Klotz

Foreign Language Film

* “Ajami” Israel
* “The Milk of Sorrow (La Teta Asustada)” Peru
* “A Prophet (Un Prophète)” France
* “The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos)” Argentina
* “The White Ribbon (Das Weisse Band)” Germany

Makeup

* “Il Divo” Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano
* “Star Trek” Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow
* “The Young Victoria” Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore

Music (Original Score)

* “Avatar” James Horner
* “Fantastic Mr. Fox” Alexandre Desplat
* “The Hurt Locker” Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
* “Sherlock Holmes” Hans Zimmer
* “Up” Michael Giacchino

Music (Original Song)

* “Almost There” from “The Princess and the Frog” Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
* “Down in New Orleans” from “The Princess and the Frog” Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
* “Loin de Paname” from “Paris 36” Music by Reinhardt Wagner Lyric by Frank Thomas
* “Take It All” from “Nine” Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston
* “The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from “Crazy Heart” Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

Best Picture

* “Avatar” James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers
* “The Blind Side” Gil Netter, Andrew A. Kosove and Broderick Johnson, Producers
* “District 9” Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham, Producers
* “An Education” Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers
* “The Hurt Locker” Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier and Greg Shapiro, Producers
* “Inglourious Basterds” Lawrence Bender, Producer
* “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, Producers
* “A Serious Man” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Producers
* “Up” Jonas Rivera, Producer
* “Up in the Air” Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman, Producers

Short Film (Animated)

* “French Roast” Fabrice O. Joubert
* “Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty” Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell
* “The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)” Javier Recio Gracia
* “Logorama” Nicolas Schmerkin
* “A Matter of Loaf and Death” Nick Park

Short Film (Live Action)

* “The Door” Juanita Wilson and James Flynn
* “Instead of Abracadabra” Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellström
* “Kavi” Gregg Helvey
* “Miracle Fish” Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey
* “The New Tenants” Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson

Sound Editing

* “Avatar” Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
* “The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson
* “Inglourious Basterds” Wylie Stateman
* “Star Trek” Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin
* “Up” Michael Silvers and Tom Myers

Sound Mixing

* “Avatar” Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson
* “The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett
* “Inglourious Basterds” Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano
* “Star Trek” Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin
* “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson

Visual Effects

* “Avatar” Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones
* “District 9” Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken
* “Star Trek” Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

* “District 9” Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
* “An Education” Screenplay by Nick Hornby
* “In the Loop” Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
* “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
* “Up in the Air” Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

Writing (Original Screenplay)

* “The Hurt Locker” Written by Mark Boal
* “Inglourious Basterds” Written by Quentin Tarantino
* “The Messenger” Written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman
* “A Serious Man” Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
* “Up” Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy

http://www.oscars.org/awards/academyawards/82/nominees.html

Friday, March 05, 2010

The Opening of Misty Beethoven

Misty Beethoven åbner sig. US (c) 1976 Crescent Films. P: L. Sultana. D: Henry Paris (= Radley Metzger). SC: Jake Barnes (= John F. Goff). DP: Robert Rochester – Super 16 mm – distributed in 35 mm – colour – 1,66:1. AD: Anton Stone, ass. Isabelle Stone. Original M: Elephant's Memory. Other M: Gioacchino Rossini. Music Supervisor: George Craig. S: Harold Keller (editing), Joe Masefield (effects). ED: Bonnie Karrin. LOC: New York, Pariisi, Rooma. CAST: Constance Money (Dolores "Misty" Beethoven), Jamie Gillis (Dr. Seymour Love), Jacqueline Beudant (Geraldine Rich), Terri Hall (Tanya), Ras Kean (Lawrence Lehman), Gloria Leonard (Barbara), Calvin Cutler (impotent art dealer), Mary Stuart (cigar smoking air stewardess), Janet Baldwin (= Jenny Baxter) (stewardess), Cynthia Gardner, Helene Simone, Marlene Parker (= Marlene Willoughby) (Final Maid). This print 85 min. A DFI print viewed at Cinema Orion (Cinema and Sexuality), Helsinki, 5 March 2010.

A print with the colour intact, with the photochemical hues of the Super 16 mm source in evidence. - Although there are more pornographic films than anything else I have kept arguing that there is not a single good porn film. The Opening of Misty Beethoven has been suggested as an example of a hard core pornographic masterpiece, also championed by women. - I don't understand why. - The Opening of Misty Beethoven is a story of prostitution and pornography. Men pay women for their sexual services. The Pygmalion story is about Misty Beethoven's "growth" into a virtuoso prostitute. - The most frequently recurring image is fellatio. - Positive aspects: the happy and carefree approach, the fleshy imagery, the juicy carnality of the sexual acts. - The opening music theme, repeated towards the end, has also been used by Visa Mäkinen in Finland. - In the current cultural atmosphere it seems that women can celebrate accounts of prostitution and submission. - I'm still looking forward to seeing a good hard core pornographic film. It might be an anime.

Susanna Paasonen: Pornography and the Moving Image (lecture)

A lecture in the series Sexuality on the Screen by the Film Society of the Helsinki Students' Association, at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 5 March 2010.

Susanna Paasonen gave us two short histories: A) the conventional history of the pornographic film, B) the history of pornography and the media.

The story A starts from the 1890s, from the mutoscope loops to the projected films. Stag films were viewed in closed circumstances. The formats included 8 mm and 16 mm as soon as they became available. Censorship was abolished in many countries since 1969, enabling public viewing and distribution, and in the 1970s there was the period of "porn chic". The case of Lasse Braun (Alberto Ferro), the porn king 1961-1977. The history of sexploitation. The "golden age" 1972-1978 (Deep Throat, Behind the Green Door, The Devil in Miss Jones, The Opening of Misty Beethoven, Debbie Does Dallas). - In the mainstream cinema there were films like Last Tango in Paris and the Emmanuelle series. - The Bavarian alp sex comedies. - The turning point: home video in the end of the 1970s, the "golden age" of video porn from the 1980s till the end of the 1990s. The decline in technical quality, the explosion of volume and profitability. A new set of stars. - The breakthrough of the dvd in the 1990s, the expansion of downloading. Since the 2000s there has been a decline in profitability. There is more porn than ever, the volume is immense, but more and more is available for free in the net. - In the conventional history of pornographic cinema the norm has been narrative film available on 35 mm. The "golden" age of porn film lasted only 6-8 years, and there were only ca 12 central films.

The story B approaches pornography as the open secret of media history. In the 18th century the development of printing techniques enabled mass distribution of printed images and literature. In the 19th century photographs could be reproduced for mass consumption. - The mass consumption of pornography was based on printed matter until the breakthrough of the home video. The explosion of pornography actually happened first in the 1980s, due to the home video. - Until that the circulation of porn magazines was huge, even in Finland ca 100.000. - In the USA in the 1980s home video production companies became huge: Caballero (1974), Vivid (1984), in Europe, Private (1965), and Bel Ami (1993, gay). - The US companies were the shadow of Hollywood. - The companies have distinct profiles. Vivid and Private stress quality. Max Hardcore has a rough edge. In Europe after the fall of the Wall there has been a shift to Eastern Europe (Czechoslovakia, Hungary), which has a rougher profile. The more general and growing trend has been towards increasing violence, including double penetration and even double anal. - The two main trends remain the polished style of Vivid and Jenna Jameson, and the documentary, authentic, amateurish aesthetique: gonzo porn, reality porn, with pro-am (professional / amateur) and semi-am (semi-amateur) aspects. - The rough porn is increasingly visible on the net. Gonzo (even operated by the male performer, himself) is cheap. - Private stresses higher quality, taking Miss Hungary to the top of the mountain for hard core action with three men. - Porn has been seen as the "killer application" in media: always the pathbreaker in new media. However, the Betamax vs. VHS story is more complicated than that of Sony refusing pornography. Undoubtedly porn has opened many of the practices of the www. Porn was the only profitable content before the breakthrough of the game industry.

Magazines, videos and dvd's, and the net are ideal for the home: anonymous, affordable, enabling subcultures and marginal interest. The broadband has the added opportunities for social consumption, fan fora, interaction, do-it-yourself.

How big is the porn industry? Some say 80% of the bandwidth is dedicated to porn, others estimate 20-30%. Is porn bigger than Hollywood? Bigger than the game industry? In any case, it is not separate from the other media industry (pay-tv). Porn has been a central aspect in the media, but the current trend is the decline in its profitability because of amateur porn, peer-to-peer networks, and do-it-yourself. This is a blow to dvd distribution. An example of the new possibilities of porn is the Beautiful Agony website, with Warholian close-ups of faces of men experiencing orgasm via fellatio.

"The Golden Age" of the 1970s is an anomaly in the history of porn. The episodic format has always been dominant. Porn is composed of "numbers", to quote Linda Williams. Instead of characters, there are types, even caricatures. Instead of plots, there are frameworks. The 1970s feature film format was only one possibility amongst several. The acceptance into the mainstream was paradoxical.

In the net, episodes are dominant, and the plot is minimal. The same content circulates in different media (dvd, the net, the print media, the mobile media, pay-tv), it is a cross-platform. Even in video porn the same acts are recycled. - No motivation is needed. The plot can be absent.

Linda Williams in 1991: porn is a carnal genre. The reaction is the criterium, as in melodrama (weeping), comedy (laughter), and horror (horror). The criterium for porn is excitement.

Finnish porn movies really started in ca 1998. Nowadays there are two-three production companies. Many of the porn makers have been women, such as Mariah, Rakel Liekki, and the Tukiainen sisters. The story of Kullervo Koivisto. Radical Pictures. Low production values, cheap aesthetics, well-known locations, national landscapes, homegrown approach. An example is Uivelot, situated in the Iron Age, with men as sex slaves for the fur-clad amazon women.

The expansion of the boundaries. The concept of the milf (the mother I'd like to fuck) comes from the movie American Pie (1999). Now there are the phenomena of the puma and even the gilf (the grandmother I'd like to fuck).

4K Demonstrations: mountain scenes from The Sound of Music and North by Northwest

4K demonstrations viewed at Kino Tulio, Helsinki, 5 March 2010.

Clip from The Sound of Music (US 1965): "Do Re Mi" on the mountain top with Julie Andrews and the children. Shot on Todd-AO 65 mm. Looks great on 4K.

Clip from North by Northwest (US 1959): the scenic café at Mount Rushmore. Shot on horizontal VistaVision 35 mm. Looks great on 4K.

Two great demonstrations of mountain scenes. The cool, crisp atmosphere of these scenes translates well into 4K.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Samt el qusur

Les Silences du Palais / Palatsin hiljaisuus / Det tysta palatset. FR/TN 1994. PC: Cinétéléfilms (Tunis) / MAT Films (Paris). D+SC+ED: Moufida Tlatli. Adaptation and dialogue: Nouri Bouzid. DP: Youssef Ben Youssef. AD: Claude Bennys. M: Anouar Brahem. CAST: Amel Hedhili (Khedija), Hend Sabri (Alia as a child), Ghalia Lacorix (grown-upAlia), Kamel Fazaa (Sidi Ali), Sami Bouajila (Lotfi). 130 min. Language: Arabic. A print with Finnish / Swedish subtitles viewed at Cinema Orion (History of the Cinema), Helsinki, 4 March 2010.

A used print with rainy scratches in the heads and the tails of the reels but with a good definition of colour.

The first Arab feature film directed by a woman.

I saw for the first time Moufida Tlatli's remarkable film about the growth of female self-confidence and independence in Tunisia, situated at the palace where the protagonist's mother was the prince's mistress. The protagonist Alia returns to the palace in the 1960s and relives in her imagination the past before the independence. I had to leave early, but this film with its powerful atmosphere will deserve revisiting.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Son of Frankenstein

Frankensteinin poika / Frankensteins son. USA (c) 1939 Universal Pictures. P+D: Rowland V. Lee. SC: Willis Cooper. DP: George Robinson. AD: Jack Otterson (art dir.), Richard H. Reidel (art dir), Russell A. Gausman (set dec.). COST: Vera West. Make-up: Jack P. Pierce. FX: John P. Fulton. M: Frank Skinner. ED: Ted Kent. S: Bernard B. Brown. Cast: Boris Karloff (Monster), Bela Lugosi (Ygor), Basil Rathbone (Baron Wolf von Frankenstein), Lionel Atwill (Krogh). 95 min. A Universal print (Universal City) viewed at Cinema Orion (Monster Star Parade), Helsinki, 3 March 2010.

Revisited for print quality: a clean print, maybe somewhat high contrast. But the imagery of the film has high contrast anyway, with a special emphasis on the immense shadows. This is an interesting new opening in Universal's Frankenstein cycle. The son comes to the land of horror, to the land of his father. The reception at the railway station could hardly be icier. His wife at her first visit to the ancestral home does not get a happy impression. There is a sense of humour in the delivery of the excellent actors. I watched some 25 minutes.

The Pillow Book

FR/GB/NL/LU 1996. D: Peter Greenaway, starring Vivian Wu, Ken Ogata, Ewan McGregor, 1:1,33, 126 min. A print with Finnish subtitles by Hannele Vahtera viewed at Cinema Orion (Cinema and Sexuality), Helsinki, 3 March 2010.

The spectacle of carnality and calligraphy in Japanese culture with multiple layers of imagery. Revisited the latter part of the movie in an ok print.

Sankarialokas

Hjälterekryten / [The Hero Recruit] FI 1955. PC: Fennada-Filmi Oy. P: Mauno Mäkelä. D+SC: Aarne Tarkas. DP: Unto Kumpulainen. AD: Kai Lappalainen. Hair: Eila Lehto. M: Tapio Ilomäki. ED: Nils Holm. S: Gösta Salminen, Tuomo Kattilakoski. CAST: Lasse Pöysti (Esko Sirola), Leo Jokela (Leo Lindblom), Jussi Jurkka (Corporal Nilsson), Tuulikki Suomela (Sirkka Sotavaara), Kai Lappalainen (Antti Ojala), Marjatta Kallio (Veera), Pentti Viljanen (senior sergeant at the equipment depot), Matti Tamminen (sergeant major), Pentti Irjala (Col. Sotavaara). 82 min. A KAVA print with Swedish subtitles viewed at Cinema Orion (Finnish Genres), Helsinki, 3 March 2010.

A vintage print with rainy scratches in the heads and the tails of the reels, but an image with a good definition of light emerges.

A military comedy from the conveyor belt of Aarne Tarkas featuring a record shop sales person (Lasse Pöysti) in love with the colonel's daughter. He has to prove he's a real man, so he is enlisted in the army where he continues writing fiction fuelled by his wild imagination. The good actors would have been worthy of better material. I did not watch this film to the end.